Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Hello from Grafton, North Dakota

Start time:  0730

Start odometer: 6012

Weather: Mostly cloudy, cool

Another great day of exploration.  I spent time in an area of the country I only heard of two days ago, took a boat ride to a location of geographic importance while viewing item two of a three piece cross country art presentation, and experienced a North Dakota thunderstorm!  I also got a few more miles behind me.  And I made it to another new state, province, and the town of Grafton, an agricultural community.

The day began mostly cloudy, with temps moving from the seventies into the eighties, a little cooler than the previous day.  I saw some interesting sites along the road including a flower bed, which was a raised garden with the head and foot of a brass rail bed! 

After speaking with a pleasant Canadian Customs official, I headed north into Manitoba.  The skies began clearing to the north and west, and there were beautiful cloud formations just beyond the clear blue skies.  I was heading to the Northwest Angle, an area to the northwest of the Lake of the Woods region of Minnesota.  I was traveling through Canada, which is required to get to this location in the United States.  It is best viewed on a map, which I will attempt to add to the page shortly.  Also, a major portion of the route is not paved, so I took my car on a preparatory course of what I may deal with enroute to Alaska.  The journey is worth the effort, as this is a very pretty part of the country.  It is interesting to check in with Customs via their video phones available at three different parts of the area.

At the northern portion of the Angle, there is a road that goes east and west.  I first went west, and had lunch at Grumpys, which is beside the grass strip airport.  I spoke with the employee running the restaurant and mentioned that my goals were to try to see the "Sunsweep" art project, and to find the northernmost land of the contiguous United States.  He mentioned that I could check with Charles, a boat operator at the opposite end of the road, to get a boat out to the islands.  He also said if I drive to the end of the road at this end, I would be at the northernmost point of the mainland.  So, of course, I took that drive!  After a few pictures (and much swatting of flies, as swarms were attacking me,)  and a stop at the northernmost U. S. Post Office, (do you see a theme here?)  I went to Young's Resort, at the east end of the main road.  I was able to speak with Charles, and he took me out on his boat.  Charles explained that there are more than 14,000 islands on the lake, and because of that, the lake has more shoreline than any other lake in the country.  He was raised on Flag Island, which is three miles from Young's Resort, and ran a resort his parents had started on Flag Island.  He was very knowledgeable about the lake, and explained some of the history of a fort on one of the islands, and also discussed how the fur trade was very important to the lake.  I found it interesting that the lake drains into the Hudson Bay.

We arrived at Penasse Island in about five minutes, and Charles pointed out the Sunsweep sculpture on American Point.  When originally placed on the island, it was public property.  However, now it is in private property.  Charles said it would be okay for me to walk to the site since the owners were not  home, so he dropped me off at a dock.  I took a few pictures of the sculpture, then returned to the boat.  Charles then headed to the northwest and pointed at a tree at the edge of the island.  This is the location of the northernmost point of the lower 48 United States.  This tree is also on private property, so I took pictures as we floated by.  Technically, the end of the U. S. is actually in the water just north of the island, so I was as for north as I could be.

After returning to the mainland, I drove back into Canada (after phoning Canadian Customs,) then into the U. S., followed by a turn west on Minnesota Route 11.  I passed by open level farmland, saw many dragonflies, and even saw many, many acres of sunflowers.  It was a pretty sight.

I went to Granny's Family Restaurant for dinner this evening, and after I got back to the hotel, witnessed a severe North Dakota thunderstorm that gave Grand Forks winds of over 100 miles an hour, with a bit of damage.  However, after the storm had passed, there was a beautiful double rainbow!


Click on picture for larger image, hit back button to return to this page.

I stopped to see this river pass under the road.  I later learned that the dark tannin-stained water was a result of rain runoff from the surrounding forests.

Welcome to Manitoba, my fourth Canadian Province!

Customs information for the Northwest Angle.

Another international border marker.

A look at my car as I stopped at the border.

This was one of the videophone stations used by Customs.

The only school I noticed on the Angle.

The most northerly Post Office in the contiguous United States!

The entrance to the Post Office.  The Postmaster walking by allows for a perspective of the size of the building.

The Postmaster of the Northwest Angle.

The pier as Charles and I head to American Point.

Sunsweep, the second of the three cross-country art project.  The first one I visited was in New Brunswick on July 14.

A plaque similar to the one I saw on Campobello Island.

The sculpture looking southeast.

The art piece looking northwest.

The tall tree just to the right of center is the most northern point of land in the contiguous United States!

Looking back at American Point.

To the right of the house is the location of Sunsweep.

Charles, the Captain.

Charles was heading home after our short but interesting journey.

My return to Manitoba...

...Followed by my re-entry into Minnesota.

This church was along Route 11.  It stood alone in an open field, with no buildings around for miles!

Hello North Dakota, my tenth state!

Thanks again for stopping by.  Please keep in touch...


Routes traveled today:  US 53 - Minnesota 11 - Mn 313 - Manitoba 12 - Ma 308 - Ma 525 - Mn 49 - Ma 525 - Ma 308 - Ma 89 - Mn 89 - Mn 3 - Mn 11 - North Dakota 66 - US 81

Hotel: Super 8 -


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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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